Yes. In October 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a policy statement with recommendations for healthcare providers and parents of gender-diverse and transgender children and adolescents.
Gender-diverse is a broad term that describes people whose identities and behaviors are culturally different from their birth sex. Sometimes, gender-diverse people use other terms like genderqueer, gender fluid, or nonbinary.
The word transgender is used to describe a subgroup of gender-diverse people who identify as a gender other than the sex assigned at birth.
Experts estimate that 0.7% of youth between the ages of 13 and 17 are transgender.
Transgender and gender-diverse youth have high rates of depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. They are also prone to bullying, discrimination, rejection, substance abuse, self-harm, and suicide.
The AAP recommends that parents and healthcare providers use a gender-affirming approach when working with children and teens – one that recognizes that binary notions of gender don’t always fit.
More specifically, the AAP made the following recommendations:
- Transgender and gender-diverse youth should have access to healthcare that is comprehensive and developmentally appropriate. Youth should feel safe and included in the healthcare space. (For example, healthcare staff should use the child’s preferred name and pronouns.)
- Therapy and support should be available for parents, caregivers, and siblings. It can take time for families to understand and accept a young person’s gender identity.
- Records and research used by the healthcare provider should be confidential and respect the patient’s gender identity.
- The medical and psychological needs of transgender and gender-diverse youth should be covered by insurance plans. Gender-affirming surgery should also be covered.
- Healthcare providers should be educated on the specific emotional and physical healthcare needs of transgender and gender-diverse youth and their families.
- Pediatricians should work toward greater acceptance and inclusion of transgender and gender-diverse youth in schools and in the community.
- Healthcare providers should advocate for policies and laws that protect transgender and gender-diverse youth.
- Healthcare facilities should offer equal employment opportunities and workplace protections for all, regardless of gender identity.
- Research on improving care for transgender and gender-diverse youth should be prioritized.